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Chapman Johnson Letter

Identifier: UA 5.038

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

The letter dated May 18, 1800, from Chapman Johnson to College of William and Mary alumnus David Watson provides a detailed account of an "unfortunate disturbance," a student revolt at the College the previous winter. Chapman reported on a student's rude treatment of the postmaster, its witnessing by Professor Bracken, the expulsion of the student, the resulting student meetings and protests, faculty-student negotiations, consultation with Bishop Madison and St. George Tucker, student threats against the latter, etc.

The letter is four pages on two sheets. The final page or pages were lost sometime between 1921, when the complete letter was published in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, and 2007 when the letter was acquired. A typed transcription is also available.


  • Creation: 1800 May 18


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

The collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use:

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical Information:

Chapman Johnson enrolled at the College of William and Mary in 1799 at the age of twenty-one. Chapman was a lawyer, state senator (1815-1831), University of Virginia governor (1819-1845) and rector (1836-1845). Additional biographical information about Johnson is available in the Dictionary of American Biography and the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography v. 29 no. 2 and v. 35 no. 2 & 3. Further information about this individual or organization may be available in the Special Collections Research Center Wiki:


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Physical Characteristics or Technical Requirements:

All copies should be made from the transcription.

Acquisition Information:

Item purchased from Hamilton Rare Books 5/25/02207, Acc. 2007.037.

Electronic Format:

Transcription included with original.

Guide to the Chapman Johnson Letter
Finding Aid Authors: Special Collections Staff.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
The collection description/finding aid is written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository